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Governor of South Australia Commendation - Excellence Award Class of 2022

Zhao Rune Chi

Rune Chi represented Australia at the 2021 International Physics Olympiad ad has recently been selected as a member of the Australian Biology Olympiad Team for the International Biology Olympiad. In 2022, Rune Chi was also invited to attend the International Science School and participated in the EPIC Challenge - Sustaining Life on Mars. Rune Chi is involved in the school’s musical programs – Chorister, Chamber Choir, Enchante Singing Group, Concert Band – and has been a key participant in the debating program. She was a member of the School's Open A Basketball and Soccer teams as well as representing the School in Swimming and completing her Bronze Medallion.

Olivia Tallent

Olivia already completed her SACE as a Year 11 student but still returned to school for Year 12 for an additional four Stage 2 subjects. Not only an avid learner, Olivia was the Captain of the Open ‘A’ School Debating Team, which was runner up in the SA Debating Association Final in 2021 and 2022. In 2022, she was selected to represent SA high school students on the inaugural South Australian Student Representative Council .

Maddie Walker

Maddie is passionate about her community, reflected in her support for Kickstart For Kids. She has been the conduit between Kickstart and Walford students, enlisting volunteers and coordinating holiday camps. In her Research Project, Maddie investigated Australia’s management of asylum seekers. She embarked on this opportunity to develop her own intercultural understanding. Maddie has held leadership positions within the school council throughout her schooling, and has been awarded subject prize awards for Stage 2 Chemistry, Physics, and Biology.

Jamie Vu

Jamie is a recent immigrant from Vietnam and started year 11 at Thebarton Senior College with English as her second language. During year 12, she worked part-time to support her family while studying six SACE subjects. For her research project she investigated the role of government assistance in improving energy efficiency in South Australian households in order to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. She has been awarded the Melbourne Chancellor's Scholarship at Melbourne University, where she will pursue a bachelor's degree in science. She hopes to contribute to the efforts towards addressing global challenges. 

Ridheypreet Grover

Ridheypreet was recognised with a Governor of South Australia Commendation for his outstanding academic results. He was Proxime Accessit at Rostrevor College for 2022. Ridheypreet won subject merits for Biology, Chemistry, English, Psychology, and Integrated Learning.

Sophia Switajewski

Sophia is passionate about a broad range of subjects, undertaking Design & Technology and Graphics & Architecture in Year 11, then exploring the experimental verification of the Higgs field in Year 12 Physics. She played club netball throughout her final year, as well as tennis and water polo in the summer. Sophia is looking to study physics or maths at university. 

Amber Brock-Fabel

Amber has a passion for youth engagement. She is an active member of the SA Power Networks Advisory Board and the Greenpeace General Assembly, the United Communities ‘Unlocking Loneliness Campaign’, and the founder of the SA Youth Forum. She was chosen as one of the top 100 creative thinkers in SA to attend the Dynamic State Summit, bringing together diverse people representing their own cultures.  She has been accepted to study a double degree in a Bachelor of Advanced Arts (majoring in politics) and a Bachelor of Law, so she can better equip herself in her advocacy work.

Beth Coventry

Passionate for the Performing Arts, Beth has written songs and musical scripts for school productions and investigated ‘How People Bring Puppets to Life’ for her Research Project. Beth showed leadership and shared her passion with peers by starting a creative club to allow students at school to share their creative writing and artwork during lunchtimes. Beth completed a Cert III course in 2021 in Screen and Media where she built a 3D game using Unreal Engine, creating an advanced AI and multiple levels and mechanics. She plans to continue helping next year’s Year 12 students even after her own SACE completion.

Ilya Aidman

Extensively involved in debating, Ilya has won several debating awards, including the Debating SA Senior Debater of the Year. He gives back to Debating SA by volunteering as an adjudicator as well as by mentoring new adjudicators. Ilya has organised two Stand with Ukraine charity concerts, raising close to $200,000. Ilya has advocated for supporting pro-democracy movements in Eastern Europe through his work with the Association of Ukranians in South Australia.

Isaac Covington-Groth

Planning for a career in the sciences, Isaac attended the 2022 National Youth Science Forum and is now a significant part of the 2023 material. Passionate about Maths, his Research Project question dissected the lower uptake of Mathematics within Category 6 and 7 schools. Isaac was elected to Head Prefect in 2022 and sat on the school’s Governing Council. Outside of his study, he also earned his black belt in taekwondo and now volunteers his time supporting other children learning martial arts.

Jess Tresidder

Jess has overcome personal challenges and time in foster care to become an entrepreneurial young woman. In 2021, after purchasing a second-hand etching machine and creating an Etsy account, Jess launched a highly successful business selling personalised key chains. She has made $30,000 since launch. In addition to her SACE studies Jess became the first student at Tenison Woods to complete a university subject whilst completing Year 12, receiving HDs in two business subjects. In 2021 Jess received a scholarship from Business News Australia in recognition of her entrepreneurial talent.

Suyeon Lee

Despite speaking English as a second language, Suyeon took on personal strategies to overcome language barriers and is now an adjudicator at Debating SA, assessing speech and public speaking. Suyeon is passionate about studying animal behaviour and expanding opportunities for dogs. At a local RSPCA, she has worked with dogs’ learning abilities as the focus of her Research Project. In Biology, Suyeon evaluated the effects of brain-interfacing technology at the social, economic, legal and ethical levels, and recognised the importance of continued monitoring and decision-making of new technology in society.

Georgina Tenny

Head Girl at Loreto, Georgina has led her peers through thought and action. As a boarder at the school she was part of a push to change Covid lockdown rules in schools, and supported her fellow students in their wellbeing and with social initiatives. When her peers wanted to participate in Pride Week, Georgina was instrumental in facilitating this with acceptance and strong sense of social justice. For her Research Project, Georgina interviewed several SA politicians, exploring the political landscape in Australia and its encouragement of young women. Georgina plans to pursue Law at university.                    

Sasha Coorey

Sasha was awarded a Headstart Scholarship at the University of Adelaide for 2022, studying Philosophy on top of her SACE course. She was awarded a 2022 Student Citizenship Award and attained her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Sasha is a strong advocate for social inclusion and her challenged sexism and stereotyping in her school community and beyond. She has been involved in the ‘Angel for a Day’ program with Hutt Street Centre and organised a series of fundraisers to help provide meals for those in need. Sasha was a member of the Junior Matildas and was SA’s youngest player to receive ‘Best and Fairest’ for the Adelaide University Soccer Club in the Women’s National Premier League.

Cameron Tunno

A two-time winner of the Purton Oratory Award, Cameron is a confident and persuasive speaker, using his skills to connect with his school community as Deputy Head Prefect. Cameron has given his time to Blue Week, The World’s Greatest Shave, Hutt Street Centre, and shares his passion for learning through tutoring others. He mentors young men in developing respectful relationships and contributed to the celebration of International Women’s Day 2022.

Ashwin Murugappa

An avid reader, Ashwin spends his free time taking in Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Foucault and Nietzsche. He was selected to attend the UN Youth National Conference, which brings together over 100 young people across Australia and the Asia-Pacific to discuss international and local issues. As part of the Activating Identities and Futures pilot subject, for which he received an A+, Ashwin investigated how neural networks could help to rehabilitate paralysed and amputee people. He hopes to have his findings published in a bio-medical engineering journal. He has a desire to work in medicine so he is able to support others in the community.

Layne Bailey

A leader in the making, Layne was awarded the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership Award in Year 10, and again in Year 12. As College Captain, he contributed to Christian Citizenship initiatives and supported onboarding of the new Year 7s. Layne was awarded an Order of Australia Association Award for his leadership within the local community. Outside of school, he volunteers as a saxophonist for the Gawler Town Band.

Madelyn Long

Madelyn has shown passion for media design, even starting her own design business whilst completing Year 12, taking on several local businesses as clients. She has shown her leadership at the school as Head Prefect, Deputy Sports Captain, and coach for the Year 7 volleyball team. Representing her school in various sports, Madelyn has broken eight high school records in athletics and swimming, some of which were held for over 30 years.

Samuel Austin

Samuel is not only committed to his own learning, attending out of hours hub sessions, but is also quick to put his studies aside to help his peers with theirs. He is committed to social justice issues such as the St Vinnies’ Winter Sleep Out and Hutt Street’s Walk a Mile, and engages students from the College’s St Mary’s Unit, for students with an intellectual disability. Samuel celebrates his peers and delights in seeing others achieve success, not one to take the spotlight but pushes others into it.

Sonthari Dilen Keam

Having spent her formative years in Cambodia, Dilen arrived in Australia at the age of 12. She was initially part of a Year 7 Intensive English Language Program for New Arrivals, and in the years following showed her commitment to learning, finishing her SACE with an A+ in English. When her school was unable to offer Specialist Mathematics, Dilen worked with her educators to take the classes at Para Hills High School, travelling by taxi between schools several times a week. Outside of her formal study, Dilen is part of the Salisbury Youth Council .

Brooke Joppich

Brooke has shown her agency for learning as a motivating home-schooler until Year 10, then adapting strongly to mainstream school life. She is an accomplished trombone player and talented vocalist, a member of the Australian Girls Choir. Brooke participated in the 2021 Lions Youth of the Year program, sharing her story of life with cerebral palsy, and in 2022 was Pedare College Captain.

Jacinda Tsakalos

Jacinda has been a keen advocate for the performing arts across her schooling, cast in multiple productions including a professional production of The Sound of Music in 2016. An outstanding performer, she shared her talents through leadership and collaboration with her peers, and volunteers her spare time as a dance teacher. Jacinda has campaigned heavily for the Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of South Australia, and has been recognised for her fundraising activities for Cycle For Sam, Beyond Blue, Smith Family and Vinnies.

Katherine Varley

Katherine is a member of the Seymour College Black Watch String Quartet, Chorale, Chamber Singers, Symphony Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble, and Orchestra. Within these teams, she offers her guidance, support and mentorship to her peers and younger students. Katherine centred her Research Project on racial diversity in the film industry and how it affects minority groups, developing her appreciation and understanding of diverse cultures and the impacts on them. As an aspiring filmmaker she has developed skills in editing music mixing and production.

William Sampson    

William loves his photography in both his spare time and for school events. He is often published in school media, across web, newsletters and yearbooks. As part of the Rural Youth Ambassador program, William would facilitate online discussion forums where students would discuss issues and aspects of rural education. In this role, he was also a media representative, conducting television interviews. He was called up to the Under 23 South Australian Men’s Netball Team which will compete in Perth in 2023. This involved having to travel approximately 600km to Adelaide to compete in the state trial matches, and some of the team training sessions, all whilst in the later stages of his Stage 2 studies.

Beau Hope

Beau has a thirst for knowledge. For Stage 2 Physics he challenged himself with the particle physics problem, ‘what is the absolute mass of the neutrino?’, and in Specialist Maths constructed a program accurately depicting linear interpolations used to create a Bézier curve model. With strong social values, Beau applies his leadership qualities towards enhancing his local community. He not only mentors within his school community but applies himself as an instructor through training younger employees within his workplace.

Jacob Collins Hall

Jacob shares his numeracy skills with the school community, coaching his fellow peers, and tutoring both primary and middle school students. He has used his critical thinking skills in his research into how hydrogels can be used within wound dressings. Outside of the classroom, Jacob regularly collaborated with other representatives to identify issues within the school community. This involved organising feedback across the R-12 site, then providing solutions to school wide problems including issues around uniform, school facilities, school events, and student wellbeing.

Grace Stewart

Grace is Vice-Chairperson of the Senior School Leadership team and has used her skills to propose changes in the school community, including starting a student-led newsletter. She became an active debater and reached the finals of the NASSSA debating program multiple times. After developing her skills as a debater, Grace saw the need for more adjudicators and became a student mentor for other debaters and student adjudicators. Grace takes every opportunity to develop and learn new skills. She aspires to enter the field of speech pathology but keeps her options open by engaging in a range of opportunities to learn about different pathways.

Jonathan Raw

Jonathan used his Research Project to establish the importance of transparency in communication around sustainability within the clothing industry. Through this he explored the contrast between genuine sophisticated philosophical language and tired cliches in regards to environmental credibility. Outside of school, Jonathan wrote a book of poems reflecting on how young people relate to each other, in order to establish a greater sense of connection with his wider peer group.

Tegan Hardy

Tegan is an active member in her school community, contributing to transition programs, peer support, and as a key member of various music ensembles, hockey and golf teams at Trinity. Her love for performing music is not only shown at school, but as a member of the Gawler Town Band and Adelaide Youth Wind Orchestra. After returning from a student visit to Oak Valley on Maralinga-Tjarutja Lands, Tegan sought to increase community awareness of Aboriginal displacement in the area.

Bridie Dolan

Bridie is described by her physics teacher as a “natural physicist” and thrives for discussion about aspects of the subject, enhancing her understanding of ideas through research and modern advancements in society. Bridie supported the school’s Beyond Border’s program by volunteering in several fundraising events and activities, designed to support the refugee community.

Samekah Osborne

Samekah is actively engaged in connecting with both her local community and her community of the APY Lands through her traditional dance with Iwirihub performance group. This group supports and engages the Adelaide Anangu people through things like art, dance and storytelling. Through her work and studies at the SA Museum, Samekah can apply intercultural understanding when engaging in open discussions around how the museum can further develop their own Indigenous perspectives and inclusive policies. She has also been a frequent contributor to the Indigenous learning space where she mentors and supports other Indigenous students.

Taylem Stubbs

Taylem has contributed to Rostrevor’s holistic programs as a mentor, an advocate for younger students, as part of the football, basketball and volleyball sporting programmes, and as a leader in the Boarding House. Taylem has publicly celebrated his culture, leading others in Reconciliation based activities. He has spoken at the Reconciliation Breakfast, and presented at the CESA First Nations Graduating 

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Governor of South Australia Commendation - Excellence Award Previous recipients - Class of 2021

Sebastian Alfred

Sebastian tutored his peers and younger students in mathematics and science. He also worked with engineering students from Adelaide University to study and prepare for exams. In addition to this Commendation, Sebastian also received a SACE subject merit in English.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad returned to studies as an adult. English is his fourth language, and he balanced his Year 12 studies while also supporting his family, who are new to Australia and have limited English.  As a refugee himself, he is sensitive to the needs and difficulties faced by other refugees and believes that by sharing such stories compassion be increased.

Caitlin Anchor

Caitlin is passionate about helping the most vulnerable within the community. She is committed to promoting awareness of social issues such as human trafficking and domestic violence. In addition to this Commendation, Caitlin received a SACE subject merit in Religion Studies.

Manish Augustine

A keen cricketer, Manish participates in a multicultural T20 cricket competition where he has forged relationships with recently arrived migrants. Manish also worked with reception students, and advocates for children who have experienced trauma. In addition to this Commendation, Manish received a SACE subject merit in Integrated Learning A.

Anna Champion

As a member of the Conservation Corp, Anna volunteers her time acting on environmental matters, from cleaning beaches, to planting trees and waste management while at school.  Her Research Project explored how implementing cultural burning into contemporary practices could ensure sustainable bushfire risk mitigation in South Australia. Anna has also been awarded four SACE subject merits in English Literary Studies, Legal Studies, General Mathematics and Modern History.

Lily Di Cola

In addition to her SACE studies Lily played high level women’s soccer in the South Australian Women’s National Premier League and participated in the National Training Centre program.  

Lily Grace Farrell

Lily was awarded the title of Young Historian of the Year in 2019 and 2020 and was only the second South Australian student to win three major history competitions. She also received an Australian Defence Force Future Innovators Award, which recognises students who show high achievement in mathematics and science.

Thomas Frew

Thomas won an Australian Defence Force Future Innovators Award in 2021. He has designed and built a digital application called ‘SACEOLOGY’ to help students and teachers to understand and teach the SACE. His Research Project investigated possible life forms on terrestrial planets of the stellar system. His findings were published by the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, and he has presented at Astronomical Society of SA meetings.  

Grace Gregurev

Grace is a talented athlete who represented her school in netball, soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball. In 2021, Grace was awarded the Makin Humanitarian Award, which recognises a senior student who has demonstrated outstanding humanitarian qualities.

Katelin Gunn

Katelin’s Research Project explored ‘the psychological adjustment strategies needed when adapting to a spinal cord injury’ demonstrating the determination she showed upon her return to school following a serious accident that left her wheelchair bound. Katelin mentors a young amputee who she met while in hospital. She has been selected for the 2023 Australian Devils under 25 Women’s wheelchair basketball team. 

Chloe Henderson

Chloe was also the recipient of the 2021 Aboriginal Student SACE Excellence Award. Chloe has won scholarships and awards in both the academic and sports fields. Throughout the SACE, Chloe was a peer leader in an elite Aboriginal Netball Academy run by SAASTA (South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy). During this time, she also learned a lot about her own culture which sparked her own journey of personal identity. Chloe’s significant academic achievements have led her to tertiary studies in Criminology and Law & Society at Flinders University.

Emma Hislop

Emma’s poetry won a South Australian English Teachers Association Young Writers Award. Emma is committed to protecting the rights of disadvantaged and minority groups. She participated in the UN Youth’s Poverty Summit in 2019, and the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork awards, that encourages senior students to actively participate in the life of their schools and local communities. Emily also completed her Advanced Foundation and Advanced Royal Academy of Dance exams. In addition to this Commendation, Emma received a SACE subject merit in Research Project B.

Daisy Jury

Daisy is passionate about creative writing and is an excellent public speaker. Daisy is a gifted musician and was involved in performing in jazz ensembles and school musicals. She supports and advocates for students on the autism spectrum. Daisy’s Research Project explored how the introduction of music therapy in early childhood for children on the spectrum could influence their social and communication skills.

Georgia Kehagias

Georgia is passionate about sustainability, especially the future of Adelaide’s coastline. She is involved in the community, volunteering for beach clean ups, and dune management activities. She participated in her school’s Environmental Committee where she implemented an online platform promoting the importance of sustainable fashion and conscious consumerism. In addition to this Commendation, Georgia received SACE subject merits in Material Solutions and Research Project B.

Zane Lindblom

Zane is the recipient of the 2021 Australian National Scholarship and the National Indigenous University Scholarship from the Australian National University. He has a particular interest in equity and the rights of our First Nations peoples. 

Emily Lindner

Emily is a keen debater, plays the viola and trumpet, and received a silver Duke of Edinburgh award. Emily was elected to a leadership role at her school and worked with students and staff to ensure the success of college initiatives. Emily also tutored younger students and participated in AFL, basketball, volleyball, and netball. In addition to this Commendation, Emily received a SACE subject merit in English.

Keeley Menadue

Keeley is passionate about horses. She won dressage awards in 2019 and 2020 and a state youth scholarship from Dressage SA. She is the state representative for Dressage SA and was part of the state team for the inter-school equestrian national championships. In addition to this Commendation, Keeley received SACE subject merits in Integrated Learning B and Research Project B.

Madeleine Moss

As the Debating Team Captain, Madeleine supported her peers to develop their debating skills. She was actively involved in the Smith Family reading program, where she supported disadvantaged children to develop their literacy skills. While at school, Madeleine also took on other leadership roles in music, soccer, and water polo. Madeline received a 2021 Duke of Edinburgh award and in additional to this Commendation, was awarded three SACE subject merits in English Literary Studies, Physics and Mathematical Methods.

Lillian Orsillo

Lillian has worked closely with the Hutt Street Centre to raise money for the Walk A Mile In My Boots Challenge, and for St Vincent de Paul Winter Sleepout initiative. She hopes to pursue a career in the fashion industry and promote body-positivity for all women. Lillian attended dancing, singing, and piano lessons, and with her family donates to a disadvantaged village in Fiji, and cultivates ongoing friendships with the villagers. In addition to this Commendation, Lillian received a SACE subject merit in Legal Studies.

Nikita Page

Nikita took part in the National Youth Science Forum in 2021 and the Evatt Trophy Competition, which engages high school students in world affairs and issues through debating mock Security Council resolutions. In addition to this Commendation, Nikita received SACE subject merits in Mathematical Methods and Specialist Mathematics. 

Clive Park

Clive moved to Australia from South Korea when he was five. He speaks fluent English and Korean, and in addition to his SACE subjects he has studied Korean outside of school to maintain his first language. Clive participates in cross country events, soccer and tennis. He has also worked as a private tutor, and garden assistant. In addition to this Commendation, Clive was awarded three SACE subject merits in Chemistry, Physics and Research Project B.

Joel Ransom

Joel is an accomplished debater was a finalist in Legacy and Rostrum public speaking competitions.  His own family’s challenge with the BRCA gene ignited his efforts to fund raise for the Cancer Council and educating others about the gene. He designed videos of exercises for students that promote physical activity, and a product to manage ‘severs’, a cause of heel pain in young and physically active people.

Tayla Roberts

To complete some of her Stage 2 SACE subjects, Tayla travelled around 700 kilometres a week. She was a member of the Rural Youth Ambassador Program in 2021 and was one of four students selected to attend the National Rural Youth Ambassador Forum in Canberra, where she shared ideas on improving rural education with federal ministers. In addition to this Commendation, Tayla received a SACE subject merit in Outdoor Education.

Holly Schutz

Holly contributed to many fundraising initiatives during her time at Pedare Christian College, including the senior school quiz night, raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service.  

Lucas Scroop

Lucas was awarded five SACE subject merits in 2021 in English Literary Studies, Specialist Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Research Project B. Lucas also scored a subject merit for studying Japanese in 2020. Lucas is now studying mechanical engineering at Adelaide University, with aim to undertake a major in Climate Solutions. A keen mountain biker, Lucas explores trails near his Belair home.

Evelyn Vincin Walker

Evelyn’s achievements in public speaking have been widely recognised. She was the Rostrum Voice of Youth Senior state winner, a Plain English Speaking Award state finalist, and was recognised by the South Australian Debating Association as the most valuable senior debater, receiving the Fran Conroy medal for best speaker. In addition to this Commendation, Evelyn received a SACE subject merit in Research Project B.

Cooper Whitbread

Cooper played a key role in his school’s peer support program and mentored other students. He led the school’s guitar ensemble, was involved in the Pedal Prix and participated in football and cricket. In 2021 Cooper was awarded the John Tilley Memorial Award, and the Australian Defence Force’s Long Tan Award. 

Tess Wight

Tess competes at the national level in cycling. In 2020 she placed first in the Under 19 Women Team Pursuit at the Australian National Track Championships. Tess also attended a STEM Girls full-day workshop at the University of South Australia Mount Gambier campus.

Cheri Wong

Cheri is an accomplished violinist performing with the Adelaide Youth Orchestra. In 2020 she received the Don Maynard Music Prize for most outstanding achievement in a Stage 2 Music subject. She was accepted into the University of Adelaide’s Headstart program which gives high achieving students the opportunity to study at university while still in Year 12. In addition to this Commendation, Cheri received a SACE subject merit in Physics.